We’re hiring: Design Director, NYC

This is the most senior ‘hands on’ creative role at Wolff Olins.  Your primary job is to lead and be responsible for the creative success of medium-sized to large projects – often more than one at the same time. You’ll be responsible for leading a design team, and you should be brilliant at inspiring and organizing them.  You’ll be expected to inspire complete confidence in clients – so you’ll need to see the bigger strategic picture, fully understand client’s worlds and be persuasive and authoritative. You’ll be expected to make big creative calls on behalf of the client and Wolff Olins, so your judgment and decision-making skills should be excellent. You should be a great planner who constantly thinks ahead about the needs of the team, the account and the client – able to prioritize, delegate and understand resourcing needs. You can come from any design background, but you must be 100% credible as a leader in our core discipline of graphic design. Multi-disciplinary and digital experience is favorable, 6+ years of creative experience preferred. 

Does this sound like you?

We want to meet candidates who are looking for a great opportunity to be the heartbeat of Wolff Olins, who share interest in people’s  development, who want to make it a great place to work for everyone and who want to enjoy the ride. Wolff Olins is a place to learn to be challenged. It’s a diverse, ambitious workplace with an outstanding client roster. If this sounds like you, please send your resume to PeopleNewYork@wolffolins.com with the title you are applying for in the subject line. Be sure to include resume and anticipated salary range.

2014 Fall / Winter Wolff Olins Internships


Each of our interns is a considered an integral part of our teams. We expect you to contribute directly to all work, engage in projects and treat this as a real job. While doing this, you will learn from some of the most brilliant minds in branding.


Email: Please send your resume and cover email to peoplenewyork@wolffolins.com

Subject Line:  Use title below

Deadline: 9/15/2014

Please note: While we appreciate everyone’s interest in Wolff Olins, due to high number of applicants, we can only respond directly to those who best qualify and meet the specific criteria and standards of these roles. All interns are responsible for securing their own visas.


We’re looking for an energetic, one-of-a-kind account management intern to work with our team in our New York City office. Working under our top account managers, you’ll support a range of client projects and gain real perspective on the many ways we help clients achieve their business and brand goals. You’ll get to:

- Creatively problem solve a diverse range of challenges, from keeping projects on-time and on-budget, to helping brainstorm and pin down that next ‘big idea’

- Collaborate closely with an eclectic group of experts in design, strategy and production

- Manage the many, many details that need to come together to create big impact


The business development intern will assist the US-based business development team with various projects, supporting the revenue generation plan for North America. The intern’s primary responsibility will be to identify and vet opportunities through research and analysis of companies in the news, as well as new business inquiries, and other in-coming opportunities. The intern will learn to craft an opportunity analysis to allow management to quickly and confidently assess promising opportunities, and then package research findings concerning qualified leads into a briefing kit for the pitch team. This individual will also help prepare sales collateral (for outreach and responses to requests for information) by creating and/or aggregating assets that leverage the most relevant content available in order to position Wolff Olins in the best possible light. Finally, based on the needs of the WO business development team, the intern will be assigned a project to complete in collaboration with interns from other disciplines (account management, design, strategy, etc.).


- Some knowledge of or exposure to business development in an agency environment or other professional services category

- Highly motivated with a passion for identifying new opportunities 

- Knowledgeable of the general business landscape 

- Analytic ability demonstrated by research skills 

- Interpersonal skills, sociable, confident

- Self-Starter, resourceful and able to work independently

- Proficient at using the entire Microsoft Office Suite especially PowerPoint and Excel

- Reliable, organized, detail-oriented

- Able to prioritize quickly and to readjust priorities throughout the day

MARKETING INTERN (NY) Fall/Winter 2014

We’re looking for an intern to work with our team in New York and liaise with counterparts in San Francisco and London. In this role, you’ll focus on creating content and contributing to social media platforms. You’ll gain hands-on experience creating, writing and promoting our thinking and work related to brand, business, technology and design.

You’ll get to:

- Work with our global content manager on social media community management

- Partner with members of our marketing, new business and strategy teams to write and develop content for our owned channels (e.g. blog, newsletter, social media)

- Provide background information and research to support proactive media outreach

We’re looking for someone who is:
Super resourceful, Self-starter and proactive, Strong writer, Well versed in social networking sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, Curious about what’s happening in the world of business, technology and design, Passionate about branding, marketing, business or communication.

We’re hiring: Account Director, NYC

Our Account Directors (ADs) are responsible for managing large, complex accounts and multi-layered pillar clients. In addition to actively influencing, contributing and presenting client work, our ADs must show proactive involvement in developing new business opportunities and initiatives for our clients. This includes contributing to large-scale RFPs, recommending project plans/approach/budgets, and ultimately attending and presenting at pitches.  ADs lead pillar clients and become key partners with the client for planning and growth, constantly thinking ahead about the needs of the multi-discipline team and client.    

SKILLS: Excel, PowerPoint and Word / Excellent writing skills / Advanced presentation and negotiation skills / workshop facilitation

SOFT SKILLS: Sound judgment and intuition / Exceptional people skills (i.e. management, direction, facilitation, engagement, development) / Pushes the boundaries / Business savvy /Buttoned up / prioritize, delegate and empower

EXPERIENCE: 8 + Experience (corporate, brand or client side) with excellent understanding of brand and strategy and international client experience.

 If this describes you, please email your resume and anticipated salary range to peoplenewyork@wolffolins.com with the subject: AD in NY.

We’re hiring: Senior Strategist, SF

Our senior strategists are responsible for developing compelling strategic narratives and recommendations, and building client relationships.  They are dynamic, self-motivated, digitally-native individuals with experience in understanding different types of business models and challenges, developing cut-through insights connected to clients’ business and brand opportunities and creating strategic solutions across online and offline platforms.  In addition, our senior strategists independently run medium-sized client engagements valued at $500 to $1M, with responsibility for overall content development and delivery as well as long term client growth.  They work closely with our strategy directors, creative directors and the design team, as well as our business development and marketing teams.

Senior Strategists employ conventional and non-conventional research methodologies to uncover the right insights. They are current and interested in consumer macrotrends, industry debates and technological innovations and frame insights in clear language, build solid rationale to support strategic recommendations, and craft compelling stories. Senior Strategists support the business development through key issue identification and analysis and strategic point-of-view development; proactively pursue new business targets.

Skills: Proven critical thinking, content synthesis and research skills / Content creator – online or offline / Exceptional communication, writing, analysis and organizational skills 

Soft Skills: Ability to lead and inspire teams / Ability to manage multiple projects in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment / Proven ability to build consensus and work effectively within a cross-departmental team

Experience: Bachelor’s degree plus 5 - 10 years of experience in brand, advertising, digital or management consultant agencies / Experience creating or managing digital or technology brand experiences

If this describes you, please email your resume and anticipated salary range to PeopleSanFran@wolffolins.com with the subject: Senior Strategist in SF.

Let people be smart


By Lauren Liao

At Wolff Olins, we often refer to ourselves as storytellers, and creators of experiences. Many times we feel the need to explain everything, show everything, create everything. The idea of brand as a dialogue with audiences is nothing new, but what happens if we elevate that and starting thinking about brands as a collaboration between them and their audience?

Last night a group of us went to see a preview of the Broadway show, “This is our Youth” starring Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, and Tavi Gevinson. What impressed me most was how much they did with relatively little. There were three actors, one set.  The set was a studio apartment. The actors often spoke on the phone, and the audience was left to hear one-sided dialogue with other characters that were never present. The actors would enter and exit out a single door to go to destinations unseen. The dialogue gave you just enough information to know who they were talking to and where they were going, and they left the rest for you to imagine. Imagine that?

It reminded me of an interview I heard on NPR with the writers of the hit show Breaking Bad. They mentioned a quote from Billy Wilder that they would often talk about in the writer’s room, which is “give the audience two and two, let them make four, and they’ll love you forever…” They went on to say, “The storytelling is really a collaboration between all of us on the side of making the show and what’s going on in the audience’s head. And so, sometimes, we like to keep things a little ambiguous and let people be smart.” What a beautiful thought. Let people be smart.

What could we leave out and let people fill in with their imagination? In our relationships with clients and, in turn, their relationships with their audiences, how might we let people be smart? 

Lauren Liao is a Strategist at Wolff Olins New York.


Saving the planet?There’s not an app for that.


The act of streaming video for one hour uses more electricity than two new refrigerators. 

By Dan Gavshon-Brady

We’re all eco warriors now

For ecologically-minded smartphone users, there are around 300 green mobile apps listed on the US Environmental Protection Agency website (and doubtless many more elsewhere). If you want to recycle locally or create a sustainable diet plan, you can. If you want to reduce your use of electronics, air conditioning or heating remotely, Nest and other nudges are there for you too. If you want to take control, practice what you preach, and do good things for your environment and the world, it’s never been easier. But there are flaws to this premise.

The cloud is not a cloud

As Richard Maxwell and Toby Miller elegantly point out, increases in green app usage inevitably increase electricity usage. And given our enormous and ever-increasing addiction to our devices, network usage and data storage are rising accordingly. Thus we enter a Catch-22 where trying to do something good, like reducing personal energy consumption, is not only carbon-negative but also perpetuates the larger problem of fossil fuel usage.

This is a common paradox, representative of the intricacies and interdependencies of the world we operate in. There are structural and systemic phenomena everywhere which tie us in knots and compromise well-meaning behaviour.

Solo or social

Making apps is not going to fix the environmental challenges facing the world any better than cutting down on how much meat we eat or making sure we recycle every week. For real change to occur, it needs to happen from top to bottom, not just individually. This means there needs to be political, corporate and civic will for change to happen. We identify ourselves as consumers over citizens, giving rise to the idea that solving problems is an individual rather than communal responsibility. If we, as individuals and populations, act only like consumers, that’s how we’ll be treated (Russell Davies is excellent on this point here). It lets everyone off the hook, and nothing will change (Naomi Klein’s latest book, previewed here, will no doubt seek to address this).

At Wolff Olins, we talk about making positive impact, both commercially and socially. This is a well-communicated message throughout the company. And, wanting to walk the walk, there are lots of things we do here for positive social impact. That varies from drinking from glass bottles instead of plastic to using tablets rather than print-outs. It’s at the heart of our initiatives like the Honey Club, and our involvement with Skip Garden which benefits the local community. Hopefully, it exists in the work we do for clients too.

And yet, we are a global business operating out of four offices, which means a lot of people are in planes, leaving a considerable carbon footprint. So, despite having the best of intentions and often the best of actions, you could argue that we, too, are collectively challenged in our desire to have positive impact.

If the aim is for everyone to take personal responsibility for saving the world, then we’ll need to accept that we’re all compromised or go and live in the woods, off-grid. But the aim should be to change the system for the better, and that requires a shared desire and shared action from consumer, corporate, political and civic corners. How we compromise ourselves individually pales in comparison to what we could do together.

Dan Gavshon-Brady is a Strategist at Wolff Olins London.

A school for ambitious leaders


By Melissa Andrada and Robert Jones

Wolff Olins is a child of the 1960s. One of our first clients was The Beatles. Shaking things up, challenging the status quo, making a difference in the world has always been a part of our DNA.

This is in part why we started Kitchen. It’s a school for ambitious leaders who want to build businesses that change the world. It’s a school where people can learn about things not typically taught in business school – things like how to be original, how to workshop to solve problems, how to make a creative climate that inspires innovation.

In the spirit of cofounder Wally Olins who first democratised our thinking through his book The Corporate Personality in 1978, we wanted to share half a century’s worth of experience, thinking and tools. Through our consulting practice, we’ve been lucky to work with some of the most impactful and inspiring brands in the world, from the Olympics to Google, from Virgin to NYC. Now through learning, we want to equip ambitious leaders – from large companies to small businesses to startups – to build businesses that drive positive social and commercial impact.

Setting up a school within Wolff Olins was something the company had been kicking around for a few years. It largely came into being because of two people who shared a passion for learning.

Education is what gets me up in the morning. Ever since I was kid, I’ve always loved learning, and teaching is actually how I got into branding. I’ve spent the past few years teaching startups at places like General Assembly and CcHUB on how to use brand to make money and do good things.

And Robert was responsible for setting up the first masters in brand leadership at the University of East Anglia. He spends every Monday teaching his students on how to become better and more purpose-driven leaders in business. Elegantly bridging together theory and practice, Robert’s work in academia and business inform each other.

Our first education collaboration together was the Secret Power of Brands, a massive open online course (or what they call a MOOC) on Futurelearn that has reached tens of thousands learners around the world. Building on the success of our first MOOC, we decided to set up Kitchen in December of last year.

Robert and I thought about calling our school ‘Wolff Olins Academy’, but decided to name it after our actual kitchen in the London office. Monday through Friday, from 1-2pm, everyone in the company – from our CEO to our designers to our security guards — step away from our work to eat lunch in the kitchen. We’ve got an amazing chef, and every day is like Thanksgiving.

We want our teaching spirit to feel like a kitchen – to be behind the door, around the table, and about making things in a messy but good way. We want to share our expertise in a way that encourages people to be brave, experiment and learn from each other. Since our launch, we’ve taught 28 classes to thousands of learners around the world – from as far as Lagos, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires.

For Robert and me, this is just the beginning. There is still so much more learning that we have to do. Come join us.

Melissa Andrada (@themelissard) heads up Kitchen from Wolff Olins and is also a lead strategist in the London office. 

Robert Jones is head of New Thinking at Wolff Olins and visiting Professor at the University of East Anglia.


Food and fair exchange


By Stefan Emrich

At Wolff Olins we believe in Fair Exchange as a guiding principle for our work with brands.

Recently we gathered a great bunch of people from the world of food to discuss how they create fair exchanges to address the main challenges in production, distribution and consumption of food today. Be it through transparency (Oxfam), authenticity (Innocent), technology (agrantec), responsibility (Sainsbury’s), community (Sorted), or locality (Hubbub).

Throughout the discussions we identified 3 crucial threads that all participants consider critical to make food fairer:

 1. How might we distribute more knowledge?

Education is a key enabler for both sustainable food production and consumption. Giving farmers the knowledge about food economics is equally important as showing them the best way to grow their crop.

At the other end of the value chain, exciting consumers about food increases both the literal value and the perceived value of food. Be it through schools visiting a nearby farm or building an online community that celebrates the fun of cooking and food. 

2. How might we engage people more with food?

Bringing people closer to the food they consume in an easy way empowers people to make the right choices. Be it through storytelling on products, a clear labeling system or smart technology that directly links consumers to producers. 

3. How might we find a balance in scale for businesses and food systems?

In food it’s a constant challenge to bring the great small businesses to scale, e.g. through specialized delivery services for local, independent stores. At the same time the big supermarkets have to find ways to stay close to their producers instead of just driving prices and value down to an unsustainable level. By doing this they can have a deeper and more positive impact on food far beyond their business by setting new market standards. That’s one of the reasons why independent brand ratings can be a powerful tool to trigger change.

Brands are critical

Brands must play a crucial role in all these fields. Educating everyone, from farmers to consumers so we have healthy providers and savvy shoppers is in a brand’s best interest. Equally brands are in an ideal position to excite consumers by telling engaging stories and helping smaller businesses to create even more impact.

It was a brilliant and stimulating morning but obviously we didn’t solve all the problems or find all the answers. So if you’re interested in carrying on the debate and want to help make a fairer world of food, please contact us here.

Stefan Emrich is a Senior Strategist at Wolff Olins London.

The Future Now series

The Future Now is a new series of events exploring the future of tech and how businesses can adapt to the rapidly evolving needs of the consumer. We’ve developed this series in partnership with global executive search consultancy firm Russell Reynolds.

The first event was on the theme of Customer Centricity and included talks from Microsoft and Babylon, as well as startups Technology Will Save Us and Roli. Check out the short film above to see a bit of what went down canal-side last week. Our next edition will be November 4th on Digital Transformation – stay tuned for further details.

Drop and give me 100


By Ben Gibbs

Put your hand up if you love data. Keep your hand up if you love big data. Ok, keep your hand up if you think data is subjective? Humm. Only one.

More and more clients have realised the importance good data can have on their business. We all love data driven solutions to drive direction and delivery don’t we? The great thing about data is it can help steer us to a decision or an outcome,  but we should be careful that it doesn’t actually start steering us to the solution. Sometimes we just need to use gut, instinct and intuition to try things and to make mistakes. Scrawled on a wall by our studio’s resident retired stonemason was a quote by a clever chap (Albert Einstein) ”Logic will get you from A-B. Imagination will take you everywhere”.

After taking a client through some solid strategy we presented the logo to them… and they loved it — after the meeting we thought “job done”. The next day a little request came in “Can we see 100 variations — we just want to be sure that the one you showed us is right for us”. I didn’t quite understand – 100 variations of the same thing that you all loved? Why do you need this? Then the penny dropped and I realised this was them needing to see that data. The variations helped them confirm the one that we all liked at the beginning was the right one. Phew.

Data can be a safety net. Trusting someone’s whim isn’t so safe a net to rely on. This is where I find myself fighting with myself. With a history in information design and a recent history in creative branding the two worlds collide. I like having things backed up with reason, rational and logic but I’m learning that sometimes you just need to throw a creative grenade into the mix to offer up something unexpected otherwise you will end up at destination B.

I read an interesting paragraph on subjective and objective data (I have to admit I had to read it twice to understand) and found this to be useful: If I respond to the question “How easy is your computer to use on a scale of 1 to 10?”, my answer “seven” is quantitative, but it has resulted from my subjective opinion, so it is both quantitative and subjective. 

Like design it turns out can data be subjective. With quantitive data you can pick and choose what you want to see, you can phrase some words that change how a number is read. Qualitative data is primarily subjective and that is where I struggle – who do you listen to? Someone who has been doing this for 10 years or a reaction from 100 people on the street? Who’s data set is more valid? 

As a designer I am processing lots of ‘design data’ in every decision I make — the more we design and longer we design the bigger the data set becomes. Our qualitative data influences our designs, that’s how we get variety. But then qualitative data can be subjective. I found out my client doesn’t like yellow and I do. Can we use data to settle this debate? Probably; but who actually cares – I’ll just not use yellow.

Sometimes people need to see the data set to help validate a decision or reassure the work has been done. It is very easy to present the recommendation but how can we justify that recommendation with no visual back up? Some people trust you. Some people need to see all the workings that got you to where you are – even if that means visualising something that you know won’t work.

So are 100 logo variations design data? Probably.

Ben Gibbs is a Designer at Wolff Olins, London.